Content marketing is one of those phrases that comes up a lot in digital marketing discussions these days. The benefits of it are well known. You sell more products and you bring in new (loyal) customers.
But it’s nothing new. Content – in the form of magazines – has been created by brands for decades. A famous example is John Deere, the US-based farm machinery firm, which created a customer magazine called The Furrow in 1895.
All that’s changed today is the rise of the internet, social media and digital technology – a perfect storm that has made it extremely cost-effective for any company to put out their own content. A hundred years ago it cost a lot of time and money to write, print and distribute a magazine. But today, any business can create and distribute content instantly – it’s something we can help you with too.
What Is Content Marketing?
There’s plenty of confusion about what content marketing actually is, and how it differs from, for example, inbound marketing.
In its most simple form, content marketing is about creating content – in the form of blogs, podcasts, white papers, videos, infographics or images – that offers value. The purpose of this is to bring in new customers and retain existing ones.
It works differently to traditional advertising, as it’s not interruptive to people’s experience online – and given the rise of ad blockers on browsers anyway, this is especially important. Good content will inherently have appeal to a specific audience – they will already be interested in the topic area, and will then get to know your brand or company off the back of it.
The big difference about content marketing is the strategic manner in which your brand adds value to the customer. Value such as insight, tips, advice, entertainment. It creates a deeper connection with customers and greater consideration.
Identify Your Audience
One of the most important things about content marketing is to know who your customers are. Creating content that offers value to them – and that isn’t simply talking about your products like an advert – is most effective when it is tailored to an audience.
Know who they are, and know where they spend their time online.
There’s no point spending all your time making crazy Snapchat posts if your target audience is 50+ serious business individuals. If that is the case, maybe more authoritative content targeted on Facebook or LinkedIn would be better. Or even a business podcast, so they can listen to your content whilst commuting.
Work Out Your Goals
What do you want? Do you want to reach out to a younger audience? Do you want to change how your brand appears to people and communicate a different story? Do you want people to feel your products are highly desirable? Do you want to excite customers about what you feel is an unexciting industry?
Working through a bunch of questions like this will define what content you want to produce and how you want it to appear. Ultimately it means you won’t be wasting time and effort in the long run, and your content will be way more effective.
Find Your Assets
You may be surprised to realise you’re sitting on a bank of useful assets already. You may have some useful reports that could be turned into a fantastic infographic. You have photos that would sit nicely at the top of blog posts or out on social media. You may have experts all around you who can share some useful insights into an industry, or help with the start of a business white paper – which can be offered out as a downloadable ebook.
Assets are all around you. Find them!
Make A Plan – Create A Content Calendar
What assets are you going to produce, what is each topic going to be, and how often are you going to produce it? Write it down and then arrange it onto a calendar. This not only gives you something to work towards, but helps keep you on track to create quality content.
You’ve created something. How are people going to find it? If you’ve created a blog post, this can be distributed via Facebook – if it’s really important, then a paid post on Facebook could surface it to more people. There are even content distribution platforms, so articles can appear at the bottom of relevant newspaper articles. Videos can be embedded natively on Facebook and Twitter, embedded on product pages via YouTube. Don’t forget newsletters too.
Listening and Measuring
Putting out content as part of a content marketing strategy is just the start of the conversation with your customers. When you create content, you should always measure the impact. The content that works, you should do more of. The content that doesn’t? Maybe less so, or try it on a different channel.
And now that you’re engaging with customers online, listen to what feedback is coming from them. You might discover some useful insights into your company or industry, pick up new employees, or get an idea for a new product.
Vote For Us In The UK Blog Awards
We have been nominated for both the Digital & Technology and PR, Media, Marketing & Communications categories and we would really appreciate if you could spare a minute to vote for our blog in these awards.
Voting for the UK Blog Awards 2017 is live and closes on Monday 19th December. The public vote is an important aspect of the judging procedure as it allows the contestant’s community to have their say and show their support for the content on the blog. Once the public vote is over, the top entrants from each category will go through to Phase Two: The expert judging panel.